Congressman Tim Huelskamp talked about America’s regulation frustration, Washington’s broken spending process and his commitment to Kansas farmers, energy producers and veterans during an hour-long Town Hall, Friday at the Great Bend Farm & Ranch Show.
“I hope to hear your concerns and take some Kansas comments back to Washington,” said Huelskamp, a Republican representing the First District of Kansas in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The list of regulations handed down by un-elected bureaucrats is part of what Huelskamp calls regulation frustration, and he had several examples.
“OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is forbidden by law from going after small family farms,” he said. “They did it anyway.”
The Department of Labor wanted to end child farm labor, he continued, and the Environmental Protection Agency continues to promote regulations that would hurt agriculture and thus the economy. The March 27 decision of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to list the Lesser Prairie Chicken as a threatened species will have negative impacts on anyone in oil, agriculture, gas production or electrical production, Huelskamp added.
Huelskamp serves on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and said veterans deserve better service from the VA, and the programs administrators should be held accountable for shortcomings.
“We had a hearing just yesterday,” he said, giving an example of a veteran who could not get VA approval for a colonoscopy for 13 months. The veteran now has stage 4 cancer and is going to die.
“Who lost their job?” Hueslkamp asked.
Huelskamp also commented on the need for transparency in government. He serves on the House Oversight Committee, which just voted to hold former IRS Director of Tax Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for her refusal to answer questions about the IRS targeting of conservative groups and after failure to cooperate with the Committee investigation into the targeting.
“Lois Lerner works for you,” Huelskamp said.
On energy issues, Huelskamp supports of projects such as the Holcomb power plant and the Keystone pipeline. Allowing the pipeline would create 10,000 temporary jobs, provide fuel for Kansas farmers and lead to lower city utility rates in Clay Center, he said. “We’re pushing for it, but the president has no desire for it to be signed into law. If we would unleash the oil and gas industry and allow it to grow, we could become energy independent.”
Huelskamp deflected questions about who he thinks will be the Republican nominee for the next Presidential race.
“Far too many people look ahead to 2016,” he said. “That’s about $3 trillion away from now — maybe $2 trillion.” Likewise, when asked if things are looking promising for the GOP to take over the Senate in 2014, Huelskamp answered, “Why are we waiting to do things until the election?”
In addition to his membership on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Rep. Huelskamp serves on the Small Business Committee, the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy & Trade, the Subcommittee on Health & Technology, and the Subcommittee on Contracting & Workforce.